18 November 2014
A spate of fuel-syphoning attacks on small tankers in the Straits of Malacca and South China Sea is helping to perpetuate a misleading narrative of resurgent piracy in Southeast Asia. However, they reveal transnational dimensions to maritime crime that require a concerted stakeholder response.
A statistical increase in the number of predations on shipping reported by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) in the first half of 2014 has fed concerns – amplified by media and private security firms – that piracy is in the ascendant in and around Southeast Asia.
While ReCAAP’s inter-governmental, coast-guard led Information Sharing Centre (ISC) reported a year-on-year “surge” in first-half incidents, from 61 in 2013 to 90 in 2014, many of these involved petty theft. Failure to differentiate serious attacks from relatively minor incidents commonly overstates the threat. However, perceptions matter where confidence is concerned.
…Euan Graham is a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 19/11/2014